Football journalist Hannah Robbins covers Tulsa’s close loss to the Tigers after a missed field goal in the last seconds of Saturday’s game.
Tulsa came into homecoming on a three game losing streak, and right from the start, it seemed that the Golden Hurricane would continue that streak. However, plenty of mistakes by Memphis caused the game to be a lot closer than anyone had anticipated.
The Memphis Tigers were off to a strong start, scoring on their first two possessions, and Tulsa had no response. After trading failed drives, Tulsa got something started. As the first quarter wound down, Shamari Brooks made Tulsa’s first large gain of the evening, putting the Golden Hurricane at the 40 yard line. Brooks’ 40-yard run on the next play put Tulsa on the board, 7-14.
The Golden Hurricane seemed energized, and on the punt, Memphis fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Tulsa. Unfortunately, Tulsa could not convert this into points. After fouls on both sides and consecutive failings by Smith to connect with Josh Johnson, Jacob Rainey just missed a field goal.
Memphis got back in the game, and scored on their next drive, bringing the score to 7-21. On Tulsa’s next drive, Zach Smith started strong, connecting with Keylon Stokes for 28 yards. Memphis helped the team move down the field with a personal foul penalty, and when the team got to the goal, a pass interference call on Memphis led Tulsa to another attempt at a touchdown, and Corey Taylor II ran it into the end zone, bringing Tulsa to 14-21.
Memphis came back with a vengeance, and scored on their next possession, putting them 14 ahead of Tulsa.
On the next drive, Tulsa seemed poised to even the score, but after Smith was sacked at the 20 yard line, Tulsa settled for a field goal. Memphis tried to respond in kind, but after timeouts and penalties shook up the end of the half, Riley Patterson missed a 33-yard field goal.
After the half, Tulsa had a rocky start. After making it to the 25-yard line, Tulsa was unable to make it to the end zone, and their field goal attempt was blocked by Memphis. Memphis failed to capitalize on this, however, givingTulsa had another chance.
Despite a fumble by Smith that he recovered, Tulsa was able to make their way into the end zone off a 31-yard run by Taylor II, bringing the Golden Hurricane within four of the lead. Memphis returned the favor, scoring on their second play of the drive with a 62-yard run by Kenneth Gainwell.
Tulsa continued to narrow the lead, with Smith connecting to Stokes for key plays before Taylor II made a short run into the end zone to bring Tulsa to 31-35.
On the following Memphis possession, the Tigers failed to start a drive, and once again Tulsa had the ball. Slowly but surely Tulsa marched up the field, making third down conversion after third down conversion before passing to JuanCarlos Santana to make it in. For the first time in the game with nine minutes left, Tulsa was up.
On the next drive, Tulsa recovered Memphis’ fumble (which was then fumbled again and recovered by Tulsa) which brought them within 25 yards of a touchdown. However, they could not get a drive together and settled for a field goal, putting them up by six.
Memphis sensed the opportunity and scored within 40 seconds of receiving the ball off a 59-yard pass by Brady White, and the kick was good, putting Memphis up by one.
Tulsa knew they had exactly one drive to get it done, and after marching the ball down the field, Tulsa was three yards from a touchdown with two seconds left. Rainey went wide left as time expired to leave the Golden Hurricane down 41-42, his third missed field goal of the night.